Sideswipe: February 3: Doggo kept cool

“My daughter in law downloaded this software in her Tesla to keep young Barney comfortable on a hot day while she went to the supermarket. He seemed pretty happy with her efforts. Reassuring for passersby that the air conditioning is on and he’s fine.”

How Israel got so good at the vax

How has a small country like Israel beat out bigger countries on Covid-19 vaccinations, securing a steady supply of vials and inoculating more of their citizens than any other nation? Israel paid a premium, locked in an early supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and struck a unique deal: vaccines for data. The nation of some nine million promised Pfizer a swift vaccine rollout, along with data from Israel’s centralised trove of medical statistics to study “whether herd immunity is achieved after reaching a certain percentage of vaccination coverage in Israel”, according to their agreement. Some Israeli medical experts warn that widespread immunity cannot be achieved so long as millions of Palestinians are not vaccinated. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using the vaccine drive as a key part of his re-election campaign. First to get a jab, after the photo op, Netanyahu mounted his syringe in a glass box, the needle angled upward like a rocket ship, with a plaque riffing off the words of US astronaut Neil Armstrong: “One small shot for a man, a giant step for everyone’s health.” (Via NPR)

Siblings be like …

1. Just overheard my 54-year-old dad tell my 58-year-old aunt “don’t tell mom” … So apparently that’s a lifelong thing.
2. Growing up with siblings: “come here” … “why?” … “just come here …” … “no, you’re gonna hit me”.
3. Trying to figure out which drink has less in it so you can give it to your sibling.
4. Me: My brother is so annoying. Someone else: Yes, your brother is annoying. Me: Erm. Excuse me?!?! He is not!
5. Parents’ curfew with each child: first child: “be home by 10!”; second child: “alright you can stay out until midnight”; third child: “as long as I see you within 3-5 business days I honestly don’t care what time you’re home”.

It's hip to be square

How wombats produce their cube-shape poo has long been a biological puzzle but now an international study has provided the answer. The cube shape is formed within the intestines – not at the point of exit, as previously thought – according to research published in scientific journal Soft Matter on Thursday. There was speculation that wombats had a square-shaped anal sphincter, that the faeces get squeezed between the pelvic bones, as well as the “complete nonsense” idea that wombats pat the faeces into shape after they deposit them. How do you produce cubes inside essentially a soft tube? The team discovered big changes in the thickness of muscles inside the intestine, varying between two stiffer regions and two more flexible regions. The rhythmical contractions help form the sharp corners of the cubes. And why the square shape? It helps prevent the faeces from rolling away.

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